With how wide the esports world is, it’s tough to pin down every marquee matchup and bit of esports news each week. Sometimes, those moments go beyond the competitive sphere and dip into streaming, general gaming and the business world, too. Esports is bigger than just the games we watch every day and the big thing you should take away from each week could pass you by if you’re not careful.
That’s where we come in. Every week, Upcomer’s staff comes together to select the five biggest W’s of the last week, whether they be a player’s performance, a new game release or something else. The goal: to get you caught up on esports news this week and get you ready for everything that comes next.
Here are our Five W’s for the week of Sept. 4-12.
Bjergsen’s planned return breaks
After retiring in October of 2020, former TSM franchise player Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg announced he would be looking to return to professional play in 2022. In the year following his retirement, Bjergsen stayed with TSM as their head coach for their League of Legends team. With Bjergsen as coach, TSM placed third overall in Spring of 2021 and fourth in summer, as well as varied success outside of playoffs.
Along with the news broken by Tyler Erzberger earlier this week is the fact that Bjergsen isn’t necessarily returning under TSM. This could signal a monumental shift because, since coming to North America in 2014, Bjergsen has played under the TSM and won five LCS titles. He also is a co-owner of TSM but, for 2022, he is keeping his options open in either the LCS or in the League of Legends European Championship. And while Bjergsen is originally from Europe, he has not played in the region since early 2013, before he joined TSM in NA.
— Danny Appleford
VCT Berlin takes over
VALORANT Champions Tour Stage 3 Masters produced several wins over the weekend, with Japan winning their first map, Sentinels and G2 Esports crushing viewership and 100 Thieves showcasing one of the best comebacks of the Champions tour.
ZETA DIVISION brought home the first map win for their region over the weekend against KRÜ Esports. Despite losing the best-of-three series in the end, they showcased what Japan was capable of at the tournament. The team now falls to the lower bracket of their group and will have to claw their way back to make it to the playoffs stage.
G2 Esports versus Sentinels, meanwhile, was the highlight of the weekend. The match also coincided with the grand final of the ESL Pro League 14 for Counter-Strike, and the two games have clashed since VALORANT’s release due to similar mechanics and familiar players. However, this weekend, VALORANT came out on top. The peak viewership for Sentinels versus G2 Esports in the group stage was 808,000 viewers, while Natus Vincere’s grand final victory only got 706,000 viewers.
Finally, 100 Thieves mounted one of the greatest comebacks that VALORANT has ever seen against Gambit Esports. In the upper bracket of Group C, 100 Thieves faced off against the No. 1 seed from EMEA in Gambit. After losing Map 1 13-5, 100 Thieves’ backs were against the wall in Map 2 when Gambit took the lead 11-3. On the brink of getting swept by an EMEA team, 100 Thieves rallied together to come back on Map 2 and win 10 rounds in a row to claim the second map 13-11. That momentum continued on Map 3, where 100 Thieves pulled away with the victory, 13-10, to move on to playoffs and get out of the group stage.
Smash Bros. makes its triumphant return to LAN at Riptide
Nearly two years in the making, one of the biggest annual Smash Bros. majors finally made its return. Not only did Riptide mark the spiritual return to the popular Smash’N’Splash tournament series, but it also marked the first true Smash major since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Fans got a sneak peek of in-person Smash over the last couple of months with Smash Summit 11 and Smash Ultimate Summit 3, but Riptide brought back the classic open-style tournaments that Smash Bros is known for.
Panda Global’s Cody “iBDW” Schwab ended up taking down a field of over 700 players to capture his first major LAN win for Melee. But in Ultimate, T1’s Leonardo “MkLeo” Lopez Perez picked up where he left off before the pandemic began by extending his LAN tournament dominance and defeating TSM FTX’s Gavin “Tweek” Dempsey to win the 1000+ entrant event.
From heroic losers runs to pool one upsets, Riptide gave glimpses of what makes Smash Bros. so fun to watch. The event brought the uncertainty of exciting, tense moments. But one thing is certain: Smash is finally back.
— Warren Younger
Minnesota RØKKR stick together for 2021 CDL season
In the ever-changing environment that is Call of Duty, the Minnesota Røkkr have chosen to do something that’s not reflective of the rest of the esport. For the 2021 season, they will stick with the same roster they ended the 2020 season with. As it stands, Minnesota will likely be only one of three teams to take this path. Incidentally, these are the three rosters that won an event in 2020 (Atlanta and Toronto being the other two).
To mark this announcement, Minnesota held a press conference with the four players and two coaches. When asked what made this decision possible, Mike “MajorManiak” Szymaniak stated that the current roster has some of, if not the best, flexibility in the CDL. The opportunity to adapt to whatever meta is in Call of Duty: Vanguard is a huge bonus thanks to the types of players they have on the roster.
However, MajorManiak seems to want a certain meta. In the press conference, he shared, “If it’s a three-SMG meta, we’re going to be disgusting.” Time will tell if the Røkkr can recapture some of the magic they ended last season with.
— Joey Carr
Natus Vincere continue their dominance
The best team in the world have added a few more titles to their collection: Natus Vincere were victorious at the ESL Pro League Season 14. The grand finals, which saw the rise of Team Vitality once more, was a back and forth thriller. The best-of-five series ended with Mathieu “ZywOo” Herbaut falling flat at the last hurdle.
Na’Vi secured the victory 3-2 with the best player in the world, Aleksandr “s1mple” Kostyliev, and 23-year-old Denis “electronic” Sharipov continuing to put up impressive individual performances. Na’Vi won the Intel Grand Slam following the victory, with Team Liquid and Astralis being the only other teams to earn the $1,000,000 title. Na’Vi have also secured qualification to the BLAST Premier World Final, which is set to begin in Dec.
Na’Vi will once again face off against top flight competition, with Gambit and Heroic already securing their spot at the event.
— George Geddes